tv [untitled] October 7, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
of us, looking for reasons why all of these projects were overbudget and i think there is a lot of waste there government. we just talked about the hetch hetchy matter and building was supposed to be $140 million, but it was actually $65 million over budget. the department of public works doesn't even have all of its receipts. the bond oversight committee is supposed to be have access to those receipts. they can't get them. so we ce[6ud money is not accounted for. we found waste in the arts commission, which the controllers office confirmed and the civil grand jury confirm and we also found waste in various other departments. and this board of supervisors needs people on it who will actually ask those questions. thank you. we have a couple other candidates who wanted to jump in here. mr. davis and miss selby.
>> after $1.5 billion in public service sector cuts in san francisco since 2008, since our budget crisis, we can't balance our budget going forward on cuts alone. we have got to look for revenue with muni failing and unmaintained parks we need a comprehensive, aggressive revenue strategy. i was one of the activists and advocates who helped to get the gross receipts measure to the ballot and box g to actually start collecting gross receipts data. i would look at the real estate transfer tax and we were able to add significant revenue that way. he think i'm the only candidate here who has been talking extensively about a commercial tax rent. commercial property owners in the state of california have been on a tax holiday since prop 13 and under the reagan and bush eras. and we could use that revenue
to fund our public schools and restore jtor city college. >> thank you, miss selby. >> two of the things that are being done this november and i would love for to you vote for both of them, 30 and 38. those are two measures that would raise money for education and money in education is in dire straits. it's okay to vote for both. i also do support gross receipts. and i'm a small business person, and i wanted to let you all know that i have done sort of looked what i pay now $9,000. i have seven employees and i pay $9,000 a year and i will pay $750. so for small businesses the gross receipts actually does help and does not put the burden on the little guy and it is progressive and so it does become progressively as you make more money. many one concern with small businesses there are businesses out there that have a lot of
gross receipts, but they have no profit. and this is something that the only thing that concerns about those two things. finally i would be okay with reinstating the vehicle license fee at the levels it was before. >> thank you. candidate john rizzo, who could not join us tonight said in response to the survey that his "top policy objective was better management of the city." if the city's growing liabilities outpace revenue, what poorly managed programs could be reformed or eliminated to help balance the city's budget. we would like to hear answers from mr. johnson, miss davis and miss olague. >> i will give you two examples of where he i would start to look. one we had with regard to the mta a major problem with work orders and waste and inefficiencies and we see other
agencies basically cannibalizing muni. muni buss are being fixed with plastic bags and duct-tape. that kind of waste and inefficiency should be cut out of the system immediately. we need to look at our upper management fee schedules, including the highest paid police chief and some of the highest paid top brass at the police department. so i would start to look at our master fee schedules at the upper management levels where we can save some money. >> thank you. miss johnson? >> i agree with that, the sfmta is one of the areas where we found the department whose money was going places that nobody was looking for. that is what i'm trying to talk about. and you can throw more money at it, but a lot of people who
have been there have been there a long time running our state. and this is the result of where it's gone. if you are just throwing good money after bad. so you need to address the issues of where is the money going? and why are they not -- twitter got a tax break, a payroll tax break, but it was a lot more than that the public didn't hear about. we pay for a muni bus that is dedicated directly and only to where interstate twitter is located. they can afford to pay for a muni bus. they are also getting a police station, their own police substation. >> thank you, miss olague. >> it's easy to talk about the waste in upper management, but i think what we need is the
political will to challenge that waste. and i think we have to look at it through the budget process. so i think it's very important during the budget process -- i wasn't on the budget committee this last year, but i do hope to sit on the budget committee in the next year. and i think that we need to make some of the hard political decisions and that is why i think a lot of waste does continue on the upper level because no one is willing to really take a hard look and make those very difficult decisions. i think that sometimes when you look at programs, i think some of the information that hope johnson mentioned about the sunshine task force, there are a lot of task forces that come up with these studies that indicate with all of this waste is. i think we need to take the task forces more seriously and scrutinize these studies and start to make those calls and we can do it next year during the budget process. >> thank you very much. the next question is for mr.
everett, miss olague and miss selby. fiscal analysts say pension and health care costs for city workers are likely to raise considerably in the years ahead. the issue position survey asked whether police and firefighters, whose pension benefits are greater than other city workers should have to wor nearly all the candidates running for district 5 supervisor said yes. what other steps should the city take to make pension and health care benefits for city workers more sustainable? mr. everett, miss olague and miss selby? >> i have been engaged on this issue as a community service, i host a radio and tv program called "folk law for ordinary folk," it's a very tough one in the sense that workers at some point are essentially giving up higher salary and higher pay in
exchange for those pension benefits. so to come back later on and essentially cut that out from under them, the question is one of fairness and of equity. that being said, as far as police and firefighters, obviously those are public safety areas and it's a little bit different in the sense that we definitely need to protect those pensions in a different manner than we do others. as far as other ways to save, i would certainly look at capping pensions moving forward, so that they don't increase incrementally over time. i think we need to put a cap on that now before it starts to burgeon and get out of control. >> thank you. >> miss olague. >> i believe i was one of the individuals who answered no. i don't think we should balance the budget on the back of the workforce, and there was prop c.
prop b was the adachi measure and proper c was a lot of pension reform where the unions and the workforce came forward and they made a lot of sacrifices. so i think when we start to talk about this issue, we really need to take into consideration that we're talking about the police force. that we're talking about the firefighters. these are all public safety issues. and this past year we have had to deal with a lot of the fact that we don't have enough police officers currently in place. and that is why we're trying to fund a lot of these police academy courses to start to fill that gap. but i think there are other ways to balance the budget and i don't believe it's on the back of the workforce. >> thank you. miss selby. >> yes, i think that
proposition c was a great start. and what i really liked about proposition c and this is very much who i am. i look at ted over here when we talked about lake albert and that they got everybody together at the table. so it was not a matter of the haves and have nots. it was not a matter of one union making the decision and the others not being at the table. it was a matter of everybody at the table together and saying we're in trouble and we do have difficulties. i know personally from health insurance, it goes up 15-25% a year for my company. 15-25% a year. my great hope is that we get to single-payer, because i believe that is what is going to save us is single-payer. but in the meantime, i think we need to continue to be at the table talk and talking and frankly, the unions if you do things fairly and equitably, if they have to take another cut
and step up to the plate, i think they would do so. >> miss johnson, you would like to speak to this as well? >> yes, i just wanted to add one thing and that is one of the main problems -- one the big problems with the pensions is that when they invest their money, the savings, they have an unrealistically high return rate. it's like 7.5%. which in the private sector we know that that is not realistic. a lot of people that are around my age in their 40s lost a lot of what they had saved. so i agree with supervisor olague that we can't necessarily balance this on the backs of the workers, but they have to come to reality, because we fund -- when that pension fund loses money, because of that unrealistically high number, the taxpayers have to fill in the difference. so they need to use a real number and that has to be really, truly negotiated on a reality of what we know in the private sector. >> thank you.
together some concerns about fiscal policy and housing policy. the so-called sharing economy has resulted in an internet-based market for short term rentals whereowners or tenants lease to visitors and tourists. many rentals are currently illegal and the city's hotel tax is not collected. should the city legalize some or all of these rentals and collect the hotel tax? we would like to hear answers from miss breed, miss johnson and mr. resignato. >> i definitely think this is a matter that the city should be looking into to collect that revenue. hotel tax revenue is extremely important especially in the arts. i run the african-american art and culture complex, a 34,000 square foot art space and we receive hotel tax revenue. the money we receive is not
necessarily always enough in order to sustain the facility, which is why fundraising for that entity is so important. i think the abuses that we see here with some of these property owners should be definitely explored. but i also think that abuses around places like the filmore center, which is increasing rates for the current residents by 25-40% is just completely outrageous, because they are actually pushing people out in order to get high turnover in the filmore center and they made promises to the community and they are definitely not living up to those promises. so we have to look at abuses from all sides . thank you, miss johnson. >> it's kind of an odd question for me, because i don't like the idea of doing this in certain areas. i live in a building where we have about, i don't know, 30 units. and i don't like the idea that somebody down the hall from me
could just have random people coming in. and staying there. i mean, if they want to take a chance that maybe if it's only two units and the other people agree, but i'm not supportive of this, even if it brought in revenue. i think it's not a good idea. if there is revenue around -- if it is going to be allowed, then i think they should collect the revenue on it. but i am not sure it's worth it and i think it would pose more of a problem. we already have a shortfall in our policing, and in safety, and i just don't think it's a good idea. >> yes, i mean, i come on both sides. it's nice to be able to open your city up to people from other places, and have them have a living experience here, which i think is different than staying in a hotel. but i worry about rent control, and the abuses that this is
going to have. we're already talking about not enough affordable housing and a lot of us have talked about expanding represent control and this could be abused by people that own apartments and also really cut down on the amount of rent control units that are out there. so i worry about this institutionalizing this practice. that is about it. >> miss olague? >> i think there are ways that this could be workable. i know that there is one of company, air b & b that i believe a lot of people are registering with them in order to make some of the rooms in their homes available to tourists and others who may not want to visit san francisco and want an alternative experience. so they don't want to stay [tph-eult/]on, but want to stay in the haight, in someone's home that might not be used or they don't plan to rent it out. i know some retirees and others
who are actually renting their place out for people visiting from foreign countries and it can be a win-win situation. i know david chiu is working on legislationing to regulate it. there needs to be regulation and safeguards and also definitely capturing some of this tax, but i think it's not a bad idea and if we are able to dedicate some of the funding to housing counseling, that is an area that is always running out of money. housing rights and others, and i think there could be a nexus made between the two. so i actually support it. i think it's workable. >> thank you. the next question as a transition to your remarks miss olague, under this plan if a plaintiff housing organization wins its case in court the defendant would have to play the plaintiff's attorney fees
and monetary fees would be given to the plaintiff housing organization rather than to the city's general fund. mr. davis, miss olague and miss selby, please explain why you would support or oppose authorizing non-profit housing organizations to enforce restrictions on short-term rentals, which at present, on my understanding can only be enforced by the city attorney. >> i would support it. i think we see a lot of local regulations that we don't get with our limited resources to enforcing, and in cases like this, where there are violations occurring, and where folks can open the courthouse door under this proposal, that wouldn't otherwise be able to do that and achieve justice through those means as well. potentially fund a very important service as non-profit housing providers. i think it's a great idea. i would support it. >> thank you. miss olague. >> i think it's a great idea also. i would support it. i think most people, when they
have issues around rental and other housing complaints, there are certain agencies that they automatically go to. there aren't many contrary to popular belief. it's usually the eviction defense network and housing rights committees. these are the people on the front line and they know the laws and they understand these issues that are related to rent control laws and this type of thing. so it makes sense. and it would also help, i think, fund their operations and i think there is a need for housing counseling in a city where the rents are so high and the abuses are still present. so i think it's a great situation. i think it's a win-win. >> miss selby. >> i think i didn't understand the question in the first place, because when i answered it i was wondering why are we only authorizing non-profit housing organizations and why not authorize everybody? i don't think i really understood the question as to why specifically non-profit housing organizations? i think if you are going to have restrictions
on short-term rentals, there should be a way to be able to make sure that that happens. whether it's through a non-profit housing organization or through another means in the city. then i think you need to be able to enforce legislation, if you have it in place. so that makes sense to me. >> thanks. mr. everett? >> your question reads like a law school exam question, by the way. [ laughter ] >> it's not my question personally. it's the committee's question. thank you. >> with that being said, the issue here is -- the real issue here is the paying of the plaintiff's attorney fees. and what is going on here you are incentivizing attorneys to take these cases, which aren't really lucrative cases. so the incentive is the paying of the attorneys' fees. without that sort of incentive, in a sense, justice would never be done, because the city
doesn't have enough resources to take on the cases. so nobody could take on the cases, and again, justice would never be served. >> thank you. this question is for miss breed, miss johnson and mr. resignato. >> a couple of years ago then mayor good gavin newsom -- i'm sorry-excuse me, i missed a question here. my apologies. okay. this yes is for mr. everett, miss olague and miss selby. this is where i want to be. >> okay. >> thank you. again for mr. everett, miss olague and my selby.
over the years there have been various proposals to allow non-citizen members of san francisco to vote in city elections. in your opinion, which city elections, if any, should be open to participation by non-citizen residents and which non-citizen residents should be allowed to vote in those elections? >> the harsh reality is that so many non-citizens still have children in our public schools here in san francisco, throughout the state of california and throughout the united states. as all of you undoubtedly know. with that being said, it's vitally important that those parents still have a say in the education of their children. i would certainly support and promote voting by those parents in school board elections in san francisco. by implication own a community
college election would fit in that rubric, to support college advancement to people who have traditionally been put at the margins of our society. in those two elections, i think, are the most fundamental in the sense that they go to the root of advancement in this country and the obtaining of the american dream. so the school board and community college board i would certainly support that. >> thank you, miss olague. >> i don't think there is much to add to that. i know a couple of years ago there was a ballot measure that failed. so i would totally support bringing this back and allowing people to reconsider it. because as mr. everett said, i think it is important for people, especially those who have children in the school district and also students at the city college level to be able to weigh in on those types of questions. and i would be open to considering other elections as
well. but i think as mr. everett mentioned, at a minimum, i would consider supporting and allowing non-citizens to vote in either of those two. >> here i am different. i have two children in public school and i would love to see citizens and non-citizens engaged in the school, at the school level. i think that is great. and i think we should do everything possible to engage these people at the school level, get them involved in their school. i, you know, personally from the friends that have i, who are non-citizens, they haven't been clamoring to vote for the board of education and to me if you are a citizen you get to vote. if you are not a citizen, you don't get to vote. if it's easier to perhaps we need to look at how easy it is to become a citizen, but my experience is if you want parent to participate in their
children's education, get them involved in their schools. i feel a little differently at the community college level, because at that time they are adults themselves, i'm assumingand that is more like the dream act and it's an interesting proposal. >> thank you. >> the next question is for miss breed, miss johnson and mr. resignato. >> a couple of years ago then mayor gavin newsom vetoed a bill to distribute alcoholic beverages. it would be used for costs for alcohol consumption. in this year's election the city of richmond will vote on a tax for penny on sugary beverages.eqc to encourage healthier behavior and recover the cost of
providing medical services to people who become sick from alcoholic abuse or unhealthy diets? >> no. >> london breed, no. [ laughter ] >> you are up first, right? >> miss johnson? >> i agree with london breed, no. i will say that the health care costs associated with alcohol and sugary drinks is what is the problem and we need to address the health care and insurance issues. i happen to be new york when mayor bloomberg announced he was going to restrict the amount of sugary drinks people can buy. people were very upset by that. i wonder how upset they would be if they knew they were collecting money because in new york they are not actually collecting money. because a lot of people who
have these problems don't have a lot of money and the a lot of people that don't have a lot of money live in areas where they don't have access to healthy food and that is a lot more of a problem. now you are imposing even more money on them. if they really meant it with the sugary drinks they would do as mayor bloomberg did and not allow them to sell more than 12 ounces at one time. >> thank you, mr. resignato. >> i disagree. i am the -- when i worked in florida, i worked for former governor childs, the first governor of the nation to sue the tobacco companies for the medicaid health costs of the people of the state. i think this is a great public policy up here. diabetes is the no. 1 public health issue that we have today. and so taxes, like this, provide disincentive for people and cover the external costs that alcohol and
diabetes-related health diseases are a burden on society. so i actually do agree with this very much so from a public safety perspective. >> thank you. there are a few others who want to join in. mr. davis? >> i just wanted to echo that diabetes as well obesity is a crisis in america. and we do need government to start taking leadership around the issue. regardless of the merits of this particular proposal, one thing i want to bring to city hall is a locally sourced healthy food insurance. santa clara county recently band all vending machines from their county facilities and i think we can lead by example, whether it's city hall, hospitals or our schools we should insist on healthy foods and healthy food choices and teaching our children how to grow their own food and cooking. so i would like to see an increase in community garden and an increase in the
city with leadership around this issue. >> mr. everest is this your third or fourth use of the time card? >> i know i am out of these. [ laughter ] well, if we finish early i will come back to you. >> all right. >> now a question for miss breed and mr. resignato. san francisco currently provides free or low-cost health care to residents who can't afford private health insurance and do not qualify for coverage from the state or federal government? do you agree with funding this for employees who spend less for their employees health care than what the city believes is adequate? >> yes. i think it's important that we continue in this direction. i was one of those persons who grew up -- i mean my grandmother raised me and my brothers and she worked as a maid and couldn't afford health
care. and luckily we had medicare and we were able to go to the doctor and the dentist. i still have my same dentist who has been my dentist since i actually had teeth. i just think it's great that kids and people who don't have access to health care have access to health care. we need to look at ways to move into that direction and i think san francisco has definitely led the way for our president to move forward with obamacare and i'm excited about that and i think we can find more innovative ways to fund this. part of that is taking the fees from the employers who have those fees who aren't using it for reimbursement and other costs that we take those fees and use them for appropriate purposes. >> mr. resignato. >> thank you chris for the health question, i will give you the $5 i owe you. [ [ laughter ]